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Individual rights & freedoms

Gender and gender identity

Gender-affirming surgery and treatment

Can I get access to genital reconstruction surgery?

Guidelines for gender affirming healthcare for gender diverse and transgender children, young people and adults in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Transgender Health Research Lab, University of Waikato, 2018.

There is some access to publicly funded genital reconstruction surgery in New Zealand, but it is currently limited, with a very long waiting list.

The specific types of reconstruction surgery available are metoidioplasty or phalloplasty (masculinising) and vaginoplasty (feminising).

Access to this surgery is through the Ministry of Health (MOH), rather than local District Health Boards. Between 2014–2018, there were not any surgeons in New Zealand who could do this surgery, and therefore people have been funded to have the surgery overseas under the MOH High Cost Treatment Pool. However, as of 2018, there is now a surgeon in New Zealand who can perform these surgeries locally.

To access this surgery you’ll need to get a DHB specialist to refer you on to the MOH‘s High Cost Treatment Pool. The specialist could be a sexual health doctor, or an endocrinologist (a specialist in hormone-related issues). You can start the process by talking to your usual GP and asking them to refer you to a specialist, who can then refer you on to the Ministry of Health.

There is reportedly a 30-year waiting list for this surgery. To address this, the government announced in May 2019 that it had allocated $3 million to increase access.

Can I get access to other types of gender-affirming medical treatment?

Guidelines for gender affirming healthcare for gender diverse and transgender children, young people and adults in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Transgender Health Research Lab, University of Waikato, 2018.

According to the Guidelines for gender affirming healthcare, you can get access to some other kinds of gender-affirming treatment within New Zealand under the public health system. This will depend on what’s provided by the District Health Board (DHB) for your area.

The DHB may be able to provide you with treatment such as:

  • chest surgery (chest reconstruction to masculinise, or a breast augmentation to feminise where there has been no response to oestrogen)
  • a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
  • an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries)
  • an orchidectomy (removal of testicles)
  • plastic surgery, such as laryngeal shaves (Adam’s apple reduction) and facial feminisation.

If you’re not satisfied with your access to gender-affirming medical treatment, you can complain under the healthcare Code of Rights (see the chapter “Disability rights”, under “Health and disability services: Your rights and how to enforce them”) or under the anti-discrimination laws (see the chapter “Discrimination”, under “Taking action”).

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Gender and sexuality

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Legal information

“Lag Law: Your Rights Inside Prison and on Remand” booklet

This booklet contains practical answers to common questions relating to prisoner rights, including transgender rights in prison. A useful guide for people going to prison, in prison, or getting out of prison and their whānau.

Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley

Phone: (04) 499 2928

Email: publications@wclc.org.nz

Visit www.communitylaw.org.nz to buy a copy or access free

Rainbow Rights


Rainbow Rights is a website developed by Rainbow Youth and YouthLaw (a Community Law Centre) to provide legal information about rights for LQBTIQ young people.

Legislation NZ


This has all of New Zealand’s current Acts and regulations.

Law Society

To find a lawyer


(04) 472 7837

Gender Minorities Aotearoa


Phone: (04) 385 0611

Mobile: 02040492568

GMA maintains a national database of transgender, takatāpui, and intersex information, resources, and links.




InsideOUT is a national organisation that provides workshops, resources and support to help make schools, community organisations and workplaces inclusive for rainbow people.

Rainbow Youth


(09) 376 4155

RainbowYOUTH provides a number of services for queer and gender-diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa.



Genderbridge is a peer-to-peer transgender community organisation providing support to transgender and gender-diverse people, their whānau and friends throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Naming NZ


Naming NZ is an organisation to help transgender, gender-diverse and intersex youth with updating their identity documents to correctly reflect their sex and gender. Naming NZ can only provide financial assistance to youth in the Wellington region.

Government departments, agencies and courts

Department of Internal Affairs


0800 25 78 87

The Department of Internal Affairs processes applications to legally change your name.

Family Court


0800 268 787 or (04) 918 8800

The Family Court make decisions about applications to change your sex on your birth certificate.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

International Surrogacy – Fact sheet


Human Rights Commission


You can contact the Human Rights Commission if you want to know more about discrimination and human rights, or if you want to complain about discrimination:

0800 496 877 or text 0210 236 4253


“To Be Who I Am”, 2007 Report of the Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People is available on the HRC website

Human Rights Commission Intersex Roundtable


NZ Transport Agency


0800 822 422

The NZTA deals with changes to drivers’ licences, including changing your name or gender on your driver’s licence.

Ministry of Health

Guidance for health professionals


Gender affirming surgery


Health and Disability Advocacy Service


The Health and Disability Advocacy Service can provide a free advocate to help you make a complaint about a health or disability service.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Guide about Transgender Employees


Department of Corrections

Placement of transgender prisoners

You can read their policy (Movements M.03.05) relating to placement of transgender prisoners on their website, at:


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